More Reviews
REVIEWS Boss! Review
PlayStation Vita owners looking to exercise a little frustration can look to this rather low-fi title about creating a monster and destroying everything in your path.

KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.5 ReMIX Review
Part 2 of Square-Enix and Disney's cooperative compilation cash-cow is ready to milk the series for another go, but does the milk taste sweet or is it spoiled?
More Previews
PREVIEWS Evolve Preview
With multiplayer action set as its focus, Evolve surprised us earlier this month by introducing a single-player campaign mode where you can switch between mercenaries.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
Release date: Out Now

Kalimba
Release date: Out Now

Persona 5
Release date: 12/31/14

Motorcycle Club
Release date: 01/01/15


LATEST FEATURES Downloadable Content Walks the Line Between Fun and Frenzied in Middle-earth
I don’t even care all that much for the Lords of the Rings brand, which makes the content falling under Shadow of Mordor’s Season Pass a pleasant surprise.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Gamers
If this awful trend is going to persist, you may as well do it your way.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP KevinS
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Sonic and the Secret Rings Review

Greg_Damiano By:
Greg_Damiano
03/23/07
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 4 
PUBLISHER Sega 
DEVELOPER Sega 
RELEASE DATE  
E Contains Cartoon Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Running on empty.

Imagine a game where you are a driving instructor. A smartass fifteen-year-old gets in the car with you and puts his foot down on the pedal. You think you are going to die. Fortunately you’re in a driving school car, so you have a few controls to preserve your life. You can step on your instructor-side brake pedal, which brings the car to a jerking halt. At worst you can always reach over and turn the steering wheel yourself, with the reflexes of a panicked cheetah.

click to enlargeThis is exactly what it feels like when you play Sonic and the Secret Rings. In a textbook example of how not to revitalize a franchise, Secret Rings takes everything that was pure and fun about the Sonic series and flips it on you. The fast and fluid gameplay is now choppy; the transparent interface is now clunky and obtrusive, and the exploration subgame has been replaced by a narrow corridor of traps. The game that was once fun and free-wheeling is now a frustrating quagmire of trials and errors.
 
In the old days, just holding the d-pad felt good, like you were rocking Sonic around a loop or up the side of a cliff. But in Secret Rings, you just run up to the loop and watch a ten-second cut scene as the game plays its own best moments. At least the motion controls are fluid, and flashy speed boost and time slow super moves give the action a kick in the pants. Forget about jumping, though. The new jump timing is intentionally stubborn. So you can’t run, and you hate to jump... how about that Sonic?
 
The hundred levels in Secret Rings feel more like short bonus stages than the usual Sonic sprawl. The missions are clever cross-sections of the eight or nine main worlds, so some tracks are reused. Every world has variations on “Collect Rings” and “Defeat Enemies” missions, and the nonlinear mission select system lets you take on the tasks you like and put off the ones you don’t.
 
click to enlargeThe missions themselves are loaded with collectibles and replay value: one mission usually opens up two more, while hidden items and performance medals unlock a massive gallery of art, music and behind-the-scenes videos.
 
The other pleasant surprise is a Paper Mario skill system: Sonic levels up after every mission, earning skills like ‘Run faster’ and ‘Start with 5 rings.’ You pick a limited number of skills for each mission, and then you can save the configuration for easy access. The interface is a little overdone, but this level system and the nonlinear mission structure are the best parts of the game.
 
The rest is mostly silly. The 1001 Arabian Nights setting and cameos from Sonic favorites are refreshing but superficial, and the graphic novel cut scenes crawl by so the preschoolers can follow along.
 
A WarioWare-style multiplayer mode ties forty simple Wiimote minigames into a thin board game. This is fairly broken, and the ‘new art’ looks low-rez and grainy; it ain’t Mario Party and they should have just reused art from the single-player game. Plus in multiplayer, your friends won’t get to run or do anything Sonic-like.
 
click to enlargeSonic sounds silly but he looks fine: the 3D worlds feature lots of twists and effects, while Sonic and the cast look smooth and well-rounded. You have a few large boss battles, and the camera behaves very well (except for a few odd spots where you have to walk backwards). The soundtrack is a little too on the nose. The Dino Jungle world sings, “Dino it’s a jungle / Dino the wicked wild / Dinos or a robot / It’s a jungle the wicked wild.” The voice acting should be great for the target younger audience, it sounds like just the kind of stuff you would hear from Sonic’s various cartoons.
 
Sonic’s recent mood swings have shaken our trust: first he dyes his hair black, takes up a gun and a bad-boy motorcycle. Because the world’s fastest rodent needs a motorcycle. Then he goes from jet-black to platinum-bleach hair faster than My Chemical Romance, ooh he’s so outcast! And from what I hear, he’s even started kissing girls. Sonic’s rebellious phase means nothing if he can’t bring the gameplay.
 
I’d like to get past my seeming bias for the Old Days, but every mistake and death reminds me of some comfortable feature from yesterday’s Sonics that didn’t make it into Sonic and the Secret Rings. Sonic is just too fast for his own good.
C- Revolution report card
  • Wide-open mission tree
  • Customizable skills
  • Multiple reasons to replay
  • Watching Sonic run…
  • Clunky interface
  • Undercooked plot, setting and multiplayer

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Sonic and the Secret Rings